On giving birth and birthday cakes…

On giving birth and birthday cakes…

I remember it clearly, even though it was 19 years ago, the immediate cessation of pain at 6:29 a.m.  Suddenly someone else was crying  with some gusto in the room besides me!  I have been blessed to have two amazing kids.  A boy AND a girl!  Onjoli came along on Father’s day morning, June 20th,  looking surprised and a little ticked off.  She still has that look on any given 6:29 a.m.

Raising kids, especially a daughter has been an adventure.  All through Kindergarten, Onjoli insisted on wearing a crown to school…EVERYDAY.  The teacher would not let her bring the matching wand for safety reasons (who knows who could get whacked in the head?).  That pink bejeweled plastic crown will always have a special place in my heart.  After all, if you are a princess you should have the crown to go with it.  Over the years, I’ve made my share of birthday cakes.  The Barbie with the giant skirt cake, Pokemon, a myriad of Disney characters and unusual requests like the giant chocolate chip cookie pizza with candied toppings. Parties have changed from the chaos of a million kids running around to brunches at fancy restaurants.   Each year the tastes and palates of both my kids have developed and become more sophisticated.  This year, Onjoli wanted Carrot Cake cupcakes with “really good frosting”.  I tried to deliver.  After all, I don’t know how many more years I will have the privilege of making birthday cakes.  I will always be a mom even as the quality of our relationship changes and becomes richer and deeper over the years.  Even as I look back with nostalgia on the little girl I once had, I am ever so proud of the young woman I see before me.  I am one blessed woman and mom!

Last summer while visiting India

I think she’s pretty dang gorgeous!

Mix all the ingredients for the cake together except for the nuts

Pour into lined cup cake pan -this way you can do some with nuts and some without

While cupcakes are in the oven peel one carrot into long strips

Boil in syrup and let it air dry to make caramelized candied carrots

Carrot cake with cream and goat cheese frosting and candied carrots

Nom Nom

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream & Goat Cheese Frosting and Candied Carrots

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup oil

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

2 cups shredded carrots

4 eggs

1  3/4 cups sugar

1 cup pecans (optional)


8 oz Neufchatel Cheese, room temperature

4 oz fresh Chevre (goat cheese), room temperature

1/2 tsp cinnamon

3 cups powdered sugar

Candied Carrots

1 medium carrot, peeled into strips

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

Pre-heat oven to 350° F. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or if you’re using a hand held mixer, just use a big bowl) place all the ingredients of the cake except for the nuts and mix at low speed until blended.  Increase speed and mix for 2 minutes until light and airy.  Mix in the nuts by hand.  I usually scoop out 6 cupcakes without nuts (due to some nut allergies in the family) and then add the nuts to the rest of the batter.  Line cup cake pan with liners and fill 3/4 full using an ice cream scooper.  Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cool on wire racks.

To make the candied carrots:

Peel one carrot into long thin strips.  In a small sauce pan heat sugar and water until boiling and add the carrots.  Simmer for about 6-8 minutes.  Take out the strips using a fork or a chopstick and place on some wax paper to cool.  Separate them out as you take it out of the syrup so they will not dry out in a large candied clump.  Set aside

To make the frosting:

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Mix all frosting ingredients together until smooth.  Place in a piping bag with a star tip or in a plastic storage bag with the corner cut off and frost the cupcakes.  Top each cupcake with a piece or two of the candied carrots.  Makes 24 cup cakes


22 responses »

  1. Tahmina! This is such a wonderful and emotional post. I also think your little princess (now not so little anymore) is pretty dang gorgeous!!! Please convey my best wishes to her – God bless her.

    Regarding the Carrot cake, I think the post itself has lit up with your warmth and your love that you shower on your princess… did your princess find the frosting too be really good? And indeed it is a blessing to have daughters who can turn into friends.

    Catching up on all your posts tonight – and this was a very good start!

  2. Awww such sweet memories! My girls are in the princess phase and I am sure will grow up just as fast as your beautiful girl. Thanks for all of the posts….you have been busy lately (and I am trying to keep up with them!).

  3. Too precious!!
    I have been so blessed by your daughter and your food! 😉
    Thank you for posting this!
    Onjoli is gorgeous and incredible!!

  4. She is gorgeous! You both are 🙂

    I’m glad that her school let her wear a crown. I once taught French at an elementary school and there was a kid who came everyday dressed up like a cowboy. He even had a “horse,” you know, one of those sticks with a stuffed animal horse head.

    It was a very leftist/Communist/Socialist school. Weirdly, all the other kids in class paid his get-up and sidekick no attention. If that was my elementary school, I would have been bullied mercilessly!

    There was also a girl dressed up as a fairy. With wings. But somehow, that seemed normal . . .

    These look like fantastic cupcakes! I love carrot cake and the cheese frosting looks so yummy. Great idea to candy carrots! Looks beautiful!

    • Things were different 19 years ago. My son wore a cape through 1st grade (batman and superman, depending on the wash cycle) safety pinned to all his shirts. There are so many restrictions now. It’s a little sad I think!

      • I would totally let my kid go to school dressed as a cowboy/fairy/superhero. I would go to the principal and argue that if I didn’t, he would probably need lots of therapy when he grew up.

        I never really identified strongly enough with anything to commit to an outfit though. Kind of sad!

      • Not a giant rice kernel? or a kernel of rice with a slash running through it. You can start wearing a crown now. Nobody will notice. You’re in NYC

      • It’s true. I love that I can walk out of the house looking like a freak and there will always be someone freakier.

        I do have to say that when you re-adjust your idea of “normal” to New York City normal, going home to visit the parents in the midwest presents all kinds of sartorial challenges.

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